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ReachTEL: 56-44 to Labor in WA

Another bombshell for WA politics – this time a new poll for The West showing Mark McGowan and Labor charging to a decisive lead.


A ReachTEL automated phone poll for the Weekend West, conducted Thursday night from a sample of 1248, suggests Stephen Smith’s leadership offer may have yielded big dividends for Labor, though not in the way he anticipated. It finds:

• Labor leading 56-44 on two-party preferred using respondent-allocated preferences. After excluding the 6.8% undecided, the primary votes pan out to Labor 39.4%, Liberal 37.3%, Nationals 5.3% and Greens 13.0%.

• Mark McGowan looks to have come out of the week’s events with his authority enhanced, with the poll crediting him with a 61-39 lead over Colin Barnett as preferred Premier. He also scores 47.4% as preferred Labor leader, compared with 27.8% for Stephen Smith and 24.5% for Alannah MacTiernan. Among Labor voters, the respective figures are 59.6%, 24.7% and 15.7%.

• Colin Barnett records 41.3% as preferred Liberal leader, ahead of 32.9% for Liza Harvey, 9.5% for Dean Nalder, 9.3% for Mike Nahan and 7.1% for Joe Francis. The respective figures among Liberal voters are 71.7%, 17.0%, 3.9%, 6.0% and 1.4%.

UPDATE: Report from The West Australian here. It’s been noted the two-party result implies a very strong flow of preferences to Labor – preference flows from 2013 would land them somewhere between 53% and 54%.



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36 thoughts on “ReachTEL: 56-44 to Labor in WA

  1. Dan Gulberry

    I expect that to move closer to 60/40 TPP to Labor as the election moves closer.

  2. Kevin Bonham

    Last-election 2PP about 53-47?

  3. Matt

    Kevin Bonham @2: According to Antony Green, it was around 57-43 TPP vote in the Libs’ favour.

    Which would mean, if this swing were to eventuate, that Labor would score a 13-point swing in their favour.

  4. Matt

    Per myself @3: Under the post-election pendulum, a 13-point swing translates to between 13 and 17 seats gained, depending on local variances. Which would translate to a wipeout for the Barnett Government…a well-deserved one, after they’ve been silly enough to moot the possible privatisation of Western Power.

    Privatisation’s electoral poison here in WA – people hate the idea, even normally reliable Liberal voters.

  5. Kevin Bonham

    Whoops, me being ambiguous there. I know the last election 2PP was 57-43; I’m asking about 53-47 to Labor as an estimate for the result of this poll using preferences from the last election.

    Although preference flows can change, Labor would be getting about 66% of all preferences, including the substantial WA Nat contingent, to get to 56:44. Like so many other respondent-allocated preference flows in polls that seems very generous.

  6. Asha Leu


    And a year out from the next election too. By then, the WA Libs could well be facing a NSW-style wipe-out.

  7. briefly

    This surprises me not at all!

  8. Fulvio Sammut

    Kevin, from Tasmania, you have no idea of the groundswell of contempt and derision the WA electorate has developed for our arrogant, pompous and incompetent leader, and his cabinet coterie of second rate circus clowns.

  9. Airlines

    Jesus, what a shellacking.

    On another note, do the WA Nats take more votes off the Libs or Labor, generally?

  10. Matt

    OK…let’s look at this:

    ALP TPP vote =

    37.3% (primary) + 0.9*13% (90% of Greens – unusually large, but the Libs here in WA have been ticking off the Greens even more than elsewhere) + 0.1*5.3% (10% preference leakage from the Nats)

    = 48.5%, give or take. Hrrm. I’m not sure how ReachTEL counts to 56 from there myself, given that there’s only 6.8% left over. Well spotted, Kevin…WB, is there a link to the poll itself anywhere?

  11. William Bowe

    Matt, it’s Liberal who are on 37.3% (keeping in mind this is after I’ve excluded the 6.8% undecided from the published figures) – Labor are 39.4%. And while you’re being generous to Labor with your Greens preferences, you’re underestimating Nationals leakage, which was 23.3% in WA at the federal election. And it might even have been higher at the state election – remember that a lot of the swelling in the Nationals vote over the past two elections has come off Labor.

  12. Matt

    WB @11: Well said. I concede your case. Still, getting to 56% TPP off a primary vote below 40%…has that ever happened in Australia?

  13. Dan Gulberry


    Thoroughly agree. Elizabeth Quay and the ongoing problems at Fiona Stanley are testaments to Barnett’s incompetence.

    Come election time, voters will have abandoned the baseball bats and will have moved on to tactical nuclear missiles (metaphorically speaking of course).

    Forget a NSW style wipeout, this could make the Queensland 2012 shellacking look like a close run thing.

  14. Fulvio Sammut

    The crucifixion and scapegoating of Buswell’s personal assistant over the washout of his maniacal driving two years ago, with no adverse finding against the muppet himself, will also not go down well in the electorate.

    All he had to do was put his hand up and say mea culpa, and she would not have been placed in the position she was.

    Instead, they ferreted him out of the state while the heat was on into a mental health facility on the east coast. Shades of Godwin Grech!

    Gutless and obscene.

  15. William Bowe

    My modelling based on 2013 election suggests Labor should be getting 62% of combined non-Labor/Liberal preferences here. That plays out to a bit under 54% on 2PP.

  16. Puff, the Magic Dragon.



    I sense the dark genius of Stephen Smith behind all of this. It’s hard to believe that he was once a cabinet minister in the Rudd-Gillard Govts.

  18. Socrates

    Will this have any chance of rubbing off on the Federal vote? With Bullock retiring it could make the WA Senate very interesting.

    It is about time WA voters realised that throughout the mining boom their conservative rulers were cheerfully giving away the States assets at knockdown prices, saving nothing for when it was over.

  19. briefly

    If yje election is in Spring, WA should easily return 2 Labor Senators, a G and 2 Libs. The final seat will be a toss-up.

    By the time of the Federal election, if Turnbott continues to give a demonstration lesson in feeble ineptitude, Labor will likely win a majority of seats and the last Senate seat too.

  20. Toorak Toff

    It will be a winter DD election!

  21. Kevin Bonham

    Fulvio Sammut@8

    Kevin, from Tasmania, you have no idea of the groundswell of contempt and derision the WA electorate has developed for our arrogant, pompous and incompetent leader, and his cabinet coterie of second rate circus clowns.

    I reckon the Newspoll netsats provide a fair idea. He’s been -20 or worse in five of the last seven. That’s pretty bad.

    I’ve updated my WA coverage here with some comments on the ReachTEL:


  22. briefly

    Toorak Toff

    It will be a winter DD election!]

    The odds against this are at least 500/1

  23. briefly

    Kevin Bonham

    For what little it may be worth, personal campaigning suggests to me that the swings in many areas that have formerly been good for Labor but which have been neutrally-split in recent years will run into the high teens or even into the 20’s.

    Disaffection with the Liberals is very deep. This means that as many as 1-in-3 past Liberal voters will support Labor in some locations, both in Metro and in non-Metro seats. I’m not saying this will be uniform, but I am sure that many precincts will be very well-disposed to Labor next year and that these moves will be strong enough for Labor to win handsomely.

    Labor, naturally enough, are less confident than this. The campaigning task to win remains formidable. But I am near-certain Labor have the capacity to take up to 24 seats – up to and including Kingsley.

  24. Tricot

    Some very heartening news for Labor. Apart from having no Federal Labor party in office (yet)for local Labor have to apologise for, Barnett is a tired leader leading a not too well endowed government in terms of ability.

    It is just under 12 months to go to the next State election during which time the LNP may well be elected at the Federal level, the economy may pick up (news last night of some 3 billion $$$ to be spend on new shopping centres around Perth) and the Libs might get themselves a new leader.

    If and when this poll is replicated a couple of months out, may be the time to think Labor is in with a chance.

    Despite this, nice to see. For some months now, the local journos are starting to pose their questions to McGowan in terms of “when you get into office” rather than “if you get into office”.

  25. Question

    Stephen Smith is a genius. It was all a clever ploy to enhance the authority Mark McGowan and boost the ALP TPP! 🙂

  26. Tricot


    You are not the first to raise some kind of conspiracy theory over Smith’s actions.

    Certainly, from what I have observed from Smith, his actions in challenging when he did, seemed puzzling.

    But then, a couple or three weeks ago – maybe even longer, there was a local journo interviewed on local radio, in which he was quite certain a challenge was on.

    I am prepared to accept that Smith made a mistake and actually believed there was sufficient support for him in local Labor to have him come in.

    Really, is anybody in State Labor actually clever enough to carry off a such a sophisticated double game as you suggest?

    In a choice between conspiracy and ineptness, I tend to the second rather than the first.

  27. Question

    I agree Tricot, that’s why I put the smiley on the end.

  28. silentmajority

    Regardless of any machinations this is a stunning turnaround for Labor.
    Let’s hope it holds until the election.

  29. Nicholas

    Wow, Mark McGowan is doing very well indeed. I retract my under-informed view that he should be replaced. It sounds like corporate interests want someone who complies with their privatisation and rent-seeking agenda, and they see Stephen Smith as safer for them than Mark McGowan.

  30. briefly


    The things is past G-voters really like McGowan. I know. I’ve been talking to quite a few of them. It’s damn near certain that a good part of Labor’s revival since the Senate re-run can be attributed to three factors –

    – the obliteration of PUP
    – the halving of the G vote
    – the large-scale transfer of voter affiliation from the Liberals to Labor by voters across all ages, including both those still in the workforce and in retirement.

    This is reflected in the anti-Government stances adopted by the Nationals who are desperately trying to distance themselves from Barnett and his retinue of clowns.

  31. Airlines

    briefly, 30

    Are there any polls that reference the Green vote having halved since the last state election?

  32. WeWantPaul

    [It sounds like corporate interests want someone who complies with their privatisation and rent-seeking agenda, and they see Stephen Smith as safer for them than Mark McGowan.]

    And you base this on how many years inside the WA factions of the ALP?

  33. Frickeg

    Airlines @31:

    [Are there any polls that reference the Green vote having halved since the last state election?]

    I assume briefly means the Greens vote from the Senate re-run, which was abnormally high (15.6%). “Halving” is still a bit of a stretch, though!

  34. booleanbach

    There was a recent article in the (??) that said Smith’s move on the leadership came about because high end business interests were not happy with where McGowan’s policies re. business were pointing. They approached a number of backbenchers and shaddow cabinet people to see if he could be replaced. Hence the Smith thing.

    I have no idea how much truth there is in this – it could be pure trolling & mischief making by a few dissatisfied pollies, but at least it gave some rationale to the move, because otherwise it made no sense whatsoever.

  35. booleanbach

    Either Guardian or Saturday paper i think.


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